Central Football's new manager faces 'ridiculously busy' schedule

Shannon Smith is still getting her head around organising 75 clubs, 360 teams, 150 games and 6000 players each weekend.

Smith is Central Football's new Manawatu-Wanganui operations manager and since she started in January, she has been "ridiculously busy" organising all the draws, results and grounds.

"I knew it was a tough job. It's definitely a challenge," she said. "It's been really difficult for all the clubs - no-one's got the time any more; no-one can volunteer their time. There's all this work that's bumped off to someone else."

Each week there are teams from Dannevirke to Levin, to Wanganui and Waiouru.

Smith will certainly be able to sympathise with referees; she is an experienced whistleblower and is a NZ Football level 4 referee, a level 1 futsal referee, level 1 referee's assessor and level 1 referee's instructor.

She is a referee coach on the New Zealand Football national women's leagues and was named Manawatu's female official of the year in 2012 and 2013.

In her playing career she has moved from club to club, and said no-one can accuse her of being biased, but now just plays indoor football.

For now she is involved in referee assessing, but once things calm down a bit with the job, she will get back into more reffing.

She wants to grow the game in all roles and one of the smaller things that would make her life easier is getting people to do things online, like draws, instead of using paper.

Last season they had 50 refs in the region and Smith is always keen to get more volunteers involved.

"You have to twist people's arms and let them know it's not that scary. We do need more coaches and do need more refs. If everyone does a little bit, it makes it much, much easier for everybody else."

In her refereeing career she has had trips to Australia and Samoa for under-20 World Cup qualifying tournaments, "time-of-my-life type of stuff".

Smith has lived in Palmerston North since 2001, having come from Levin and Waiopehu College.

She studied sport science at Massey University, then studied massage, then ran her own gym, then became a lecturer at International Pacific College in sport studies before taking this job.

Manawatu Standard